Yesterday I was part of a panel in the Big Data and Learning Analtyics Symposium at ALT-C. Simon Buckingham Schum, Rebecca Fergusson, Noami Jeffrey, Kevin Mayles and Richard Nurse the "crack team" from the OU gave a really useful overview of the range of work they are all undertaking in the OU. Simon's blog has details of the session and our introductory slides.
We were pleasantly surprised by the number of delegates who came to the session given we were scheduled at the same time as yesterday's invitied speakers Professor Mark Stubbs and Sarah Porter. The level of discussion and interest indicated the growing realisation of the potential and the challenges for analytics across the education sector.
As ever it is hard to report effectively on a discussion session however a few issues which seemed to resonate with everyone in the room were:
*the danger of recommendation systems reducing and not extending choice
*data driven v data deterimistic decision making
*the difference between measuring success and success in learning - they are not the same
*the danger of "seduction by stats" by senior management
*the need for the development of new skills sets and roles within institutions based on data science but with the ability to communicate with all staff to help question the data.
*the increased need for development of statistical literacy for all staff and students
*the potential for learning analytics in terms of expanding the flipped classroom model allowing teachers and students more time for sense making and actually thinking about the teaching and learning process.
Many of these issues will be covered in a series of papers we will be releasing next month as part of our Reconnoitre work. And the discussions will be continued at a SoLAR meeting in November which we are co-hosting with the OU (more details on that in the next few days).